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Talk to them like they're PEOPLE!!!!

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  • Talk to them like they're PEOPLE!!!!

    As many of you know, I have a background in law enforcement, and am currently serving as a Police Chaplain.

    Our Police Department has a "Citizen's Police Academy" available for people who might be interested in a career in law enforcement, or who might want to serve as volunteers or whatever.

    I figured "what the heck", and signed up for the "Citizens' Police Academy", because it seemed like a good way to quickly get to know the policies and procedures of the Department, and get a feel for how they operate.

    I have to say, I was really impressed with the professionalism AND the ... trying to think of a word to describe ... the way that it is CONSTANTLY stressed that they want their officers to deal with the public as PEOPLE! What a concept.

    From the Chief down to the Lieutenant in charge of the Academy, in scenario after scenario, I would hear the coaching "Talk to them like they're PEOPLE!"

    Now, let's be clear -- this in NO WAY implies that the Department Personnel do not THINK that the "people" are "people" -- it's a constant reminder to the officers that they ARE, indeed, dealing with "people", and not just "suspects" or "victims" or "actors" or "perps" or "unknown subjects".

    In one of the scenarios, I was teamed up with 3 other people in a "dynamic entry" situation, and there was a guy playing the part of a drunk sitting in the room, holding a cane, with a dead dog (toy stuffed dog) by his side. He was crying and yelling, and my "teammates" began yelling back at him demanding he put his hands up, drop the cane, etc.... I have to admit I got caught up in it a bit myself, but I heard the Lieutenant behind me calling "Talk to him like a person!" I had to outshout my "partners", and ask them to hold up while I "talked to him like a person", and he told me that the man who shot his dog was in the next room, threatening to kill any cops that responded*. Now, again, this was just a training scenario, but it really brought home to me the fact that it's so easy to get caught up in seeing somebody as a "suspect" just because they're drunk or homeless or whatever, when they are, indeed, in need of Police services.

    It even made me look back at some of my experiences many years ago, and I wish I had had somebody hammering into my head "talk to them like they're people".

    Because, in fact, they really are!


    *as part of the exercise, we did move into the next room, and had a shootout with the guy who had been promising to kill a cop.
    Last edited by Cow Poke; 07-21-2014, 11:39 PM.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    There have been so many news stories lately about "bad cops" but I've always thought it was a numbers thing because there are just so many departments out there and naturally there are going to be a few bad apples that sneak in. This sort of thing reinforces my theory that the vast majority are in it to do the right thing.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
      There have been so many news stories lately about "bad cops" but I've always thought it was a numbers thing because there are just so many departments out there and naturally there are going to be a few bad apples that sneak in. This sort of thing reinforces my theory that the vast majority are in it to do the right thing.
      That's why this "Police Academy" was so enlightening to me -- it's not some "spokesperson" saying "but this is what we TEACH!"... it was the actual leadership actually TEACHING, and they even used, as an example, the fact that they had to terminate an officer because he "just didn't get it" -- he had an "air of superiority" that was simply unacceptable.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
        There have been so many news stories lately about "bad cops" but I've always thought it was a numbers thing because there are just so many departments out there and naturally there are going to be a few bad apples that sneak in. This sort of thing reinforces my theory that the vast majority are in it to do the right thing.
        Even if we assume this is so; the problem is that the "good" cops stick up for the bad cops. I can see how corruption can quickly get out of hand under that scenario. Instead of eliminating the cancer (because of some tribal or herd mentality type of thing), the cancer spreads.
        "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          *as part of the exercise, we did move into the next room, and had a shootout with the guy who had been promising to kill a cop.
          Why would you not just isolate and communicate from a safe distance – give the guy a chance to calm down?
          “I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.” ― Oscar Wilde
          “And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence” ― Bertrand Russell
          “not all there” - you know who you are

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          • #6
            Originally posted by seanD View Post
            Even if we assume this is so; the problem is that the "good" cops stick up for the bad cops.
            Not always. It's a large part of the reason I'm no longer a cop.

            I can see how corruption can quickly get out of hand under that scenario. Instead of eliminating the cancer (because of some tribal or herd mentality type of thing), the cancer spreads.
            Yeah, that's why I said "they had to terminate an officer because he "just didn't get it" -- he had an "air of superiority" that was simply unacceptable".
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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            • #7
              Originally posted by firstfloor View Post
              Why would you not just isolate and communicate from a safe distance – give the guy a chance to calm down?
              That's actually a good question.
              It was a training exercise designed to teach the dynamic entry -- it was contrived in such a way as to be necessary.
              Normally, yes, there would be an attempt to talk him out.

              The point was the "talk to him like he's a person" -- but somebody who is determined to kill a cop, and has just shot somebody's family pet, isn't acting very much like a "person".
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                Not always. It's a large part of the reason I'm no longer a cop.



                Yeah, that's why I said "they had to terminate an officer because he "just didn't get it" -- he had an "air of superiority" that was simply unacceptable".
                You're an exception. You had strong Christian ethics which is good. And without knowing the full details of the situation other than what little you gave me, the cop you described doesn't sound like he was a corrupt cop. It sounds like it was just an ego thing between cops in the department. That's not what I was referring to when I used the word "corrupt." What I was referring to is known as the Blue Code of Silence and has been well documented, though I'm not necessarily saying this goes on in every department, obviously, but I was specifically responding to what KG said.
                "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  That's actually a good question.
                  It was a training exercise designed to teach the dynamic entry -- it was contrived in such a way as to be necessary.
                  Normally, yes, there would be an attempt to talk him out.

                  The point was the "talk to him like he's a person" -- but somebody who is determined to kill a cop, and has just shot somebody's family pet, isn't acting very much like a "person".
                  They are acting very much like a person - angry, confused, frustrated, hurt, depressed, and a litany of other raw, painful emotions are very much part of being a person. They don't usually make for being a nice person, a sane person or a rational person - but the noun remains regardless. It's still a person no matter how incredibly hard they have become to deal with. There's still a human being there - he had a mom and dad, whether or not he knew them; he was once a child; had/has friends; has done something kind as well as things that are bad; and has all the things, good and bad, that make us human. He's still a person in the midst of his insanity, self induced or otherwise. You may not be able to talk to him - some situations/conditions simply won't permit that - but he's still a person and your best shot of getting him to be rational is to connect to that person, however tenuous his grip on reality or his self control.

                  Police officers, like DIS, rarely see people in their best moments. We usually deal with them in the midst of the consequences of their own stupidity - officers get a lot of that, too. It's easy to pull away and see them as an issue to be dealt with rather than a person, even a dumb one. But it's still wrong - they are still people, regardless.

                  Remember, we are no different - we have our breaking points, our foibles, our mistakes, our sins and our stupidity. We also have the same Savior - the same Jesus Who died for us died for them. To view them as not persons is to belittle the work of the Cross.

                  Stupid, irrational, insane, uncooperative, mean, cruel, hating, bigoted, vicious people are the same people we are, when we were apart from Christ. Which doesn't make them easier to deal with - but does make us responsible to be what Christ has made us instead of what we once were.

                  People is messy. Christ is great.

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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